Pan American Rivals Overpower USWNT in Second FIH Pro League Game of the Weekend

Images Taken by Mark Palczewski

May 12, 2019, 8:53 p.m. (ET)

LANCASTER, Pa. – May 12, 2019 – The U.S. Women’s National Team battled No. 4 Argentina in their second FIH Pro League game of the weekend. More rain saturated the pitch before the second meeting of the two teams, but only a light mist remained as the first whistle sounded. A back-and-forth struggle was fought between the 25-yard lines as both teams pressured hard and attacked aggressively. It was Argentina who capitalized on the scoring opportunities created, defeating USA 4-0. 

"I think we have to work on disguising our passes a little bit more," said Janneke Schopman, USWNT Head Coach, following the game. "Argentina is a very good team that can read when we're starting to pass and are able to get a jump on the ball. So for us, to be able to execute our skill when not looking at the player we're going to pass to will be a key focus the next week." 

The game started as Argentina gained possession, working the ball deep into their right corner. USA’s defense was able to break down the attack in their circle, but Las Leonas took over in the following minutes. As Argentina brought the pressure into their attacking 25, Kathleen Sharkey (Moosic, Pa.) stepped through an Argentina pass and carried it the other way. In the sixth minute, Argentina gained possession again and managed to earn a penalty corner, but the mis-trap at the top of the circle gave USA the ball. Control continued to be back and forth as both teams saw scoring opportunities. It was Argentina who used great ball movement to produce a shot that went off the stick of Julia Young (Yorktown, Va.). With a few minutes left in the quarter, Carla Rebecchi used her quick stick skill and speed to get a backhand shot off that USA goalkeeper Kelsey Bing (Houston,Texas) stopped and cleared over the sideline. Back-to-back penalty corners were awarded to Las Leonas, with the first hitting another foot, and the second being tipped out by flyer Amanda Magadan (Randolph, N.J.). USA used the momentum to move up the field, and Lauren Moyer (York, Pa.) found a cutting Anna Dessoye (Mountaintop, Pa.) for a give-and-go across the circle. Argentina's Julieta Jankunas stole the ball from Moyer, ending the quarter’s action as it finished scoreless.

 

USA pressed harder on the Argentina back line as the second quarter got underway. However, Las Leonas did not hold back and they worked the ball up the field to set up their first almost-goal of the game. Jankunas sent it across the cage to Bing for a save, but Rebecchi was there to lift it over Bing for the goal. USA used their video referral, asking for an Argentina foot on the rebound. USA was correct in the decision as the score remained 0-0. In the 21st minute, a hard whistle outside the USA circle was upgraded to a penalty corner for Las Leonas. The first drag flick and second shot were stopped by Bing, but the third by Agustina Albertarrio slipped under Bing for Argentina’s first official goal. The USA defense did not relent as the goal charged Las Leonas. Ashley Hoffman (Mohnton, Pa.) made a key stop outside the circle, passing it immediately to Casey Umstead (Green Lane, Pa.) to work it toward their attacking end. Argentina came close to their second goal as the ball entered low off the right baseline but Magadan made the clean step and Umstead cleared it out. A sequence starting with Hoffman passed it forward to Moyer who then passed it to Mackenzie Allessie (Mount Joy, Pa.) in the circle, but the Argentina goalkeeper Cristina Cosentino made the diving stick save. Las Leonas continued to knock until the final seconds of the half, but the score stood in favor of Argentina 1-0.

 

As the second half of match got started, USA struck first by earning a penalty corner in the 31st minute. The shot by Sharkey went right to Cosentino, but Moyer collected it and found a foot for another chance. The second penalty corner attempt came from Sharkey again, with Cosentino diving and saving the ball this time. With the ball going the other way on the restart, Argentina entered the circle and Jankunas managed a baseline cross through traffic that was cleared by Bing. During the 37th minute, Agostina Alonso was quick to find space and ripped a backhand shot that hit off a USA leg. Las Leonas’ fifth penalty corner made it past Bing with a quick drag flick by Rebecchi. Off the restart, USA took it into their attacking circle but was defended well by the Argentina defense. With a minute left in the quarter, USA was awarded a penalty corner after quick passing from Margaux Paolino (Villanova, Pa.) found Linnea Gonzales (Bel Air, Md.) who used her skill to find an Argentina foot. The slip sweep shot by Ali Froede (Burke, Va.) was defended well over the end line by Las Leonas as the quarter closed with Argentina leading 2-0. 

 

The fourth and final quarter got underway as both teams worked hard to gain and keep possession. Las Leonas found a USA foot inside the circle to earn another penalty corner. Argentina executed a deceptive move, faking a shot and passing to Rebecchi who was poised at the top of the circle. Her shot went just wide of the goal mouth. Argentina kept up their attack as Jankunas tried a backhand shot, but the ball rolled too far in front of her, forcing the connection to go astray. USA continued to try to press out of their defensive end and beyond Argentina’s tight defense. Las Leonas quickly got the ball down the other way, into the circle and across the goal where Micaela Retegui picked it up, turned and ripped a backhand shot that was tipped in Victoria Granatto. USA asked for a video review for the back of the stick, but the goal stood according to the video umpire. Less than a minute later, Granatto tallied another and extended the lead after a goalmouth scramble found the back of the goal to give Argentina a 4-0 lead. As the time ticked away, USA worked it toward their circle but continually was met by a strong Argentina defensive line. The final score would stand at Argentina 4, USA 0. 

 

"I think a couple times we had an extra pass opportunity around when we chose to dribble or chose to go through them," said Schopman. "And I think that against these teams it is key to move the ball well so you make them move and then there's time to eliminate in the one-v-ones. When we had some space, and we actually started using our 3D skills, we saw some good eliminations, but we have to do that more often." 

 

Following the game, Rebecchi of Argentina earned Player of the Match for her goal-scoring performance. 

 

In today’s contest, USWNT athlete Erin Matson (Chadds Ford, Pa.) earned her 50th international cap for USA.

 

 

The U.S. Women’s National Team’s next FIH Pro League match will be played at home on Saturday, May 18 in Lancaster, Pa. against No. 10 China. Tickets for this game are available and can be purchased by clicking here. For more information, check out the FIH Pro League event page by clicking here#FIHProLeague